K-1 Launches Global Expansion – Invites GLORY, ONE Championship and KOK for Grand Prix, Plans MMA Events With Help of Kazushi Sakuraba

Jul 03, 2023
The sold-out Tokyo Dome. Photo: THE MATCH 2022 / Sachiko Hotaka
K-1 is looking to expand globally, working with other organizations, KOK, GLORY, and ONE Championship.

K-1 Kickboxing is expanding worldwide and is seeking to collaborate with fellow kickboxing organizations. The prestigious kickboxing institution has been locked in Japan for the last couple of years, however, this is about to change.

The Japanese-based combat sports firm, founded in 1993, used to host live events all around the globe, including the Netherlands, Australia, the USA, and many more nations. However, K-1 World Grand Prix has been exclusively performing fight cards in Japan since 2015 but is now planning to expand globally once again.

Earlier this year it was announced that K-1 World Grand Prix had bought back its international trademark. Rumors had been swirling as fans and pundits were speculating on what this could mean. But now, with the most recent news, their aim is becoming more clear.

According to a report from, K-1 is looking to do tournament events in Singapore, the Netherlands, and Lithuania. Additionally, the promotions wants to work with contemporaries in its field such as the Dutch-based GLORY Kickboxing, Lithuania's King of Kings (KOK), and Singapore's ONE Championship, among others. The report also adds that K-1 is aiming to work with ISKA, Shootboxing, KSW, Senshi, and RISE. The winner's of those qualifying tournaments are supposed to meet in the finals on New Years Eve in Japan.

Legendary PRIDE FC figure Kazushi Sakuraba has been invited to assist in the organization as well. K-1 is looking to add submission grappling, as well as Mixed Martial Arts bouts. The UFC Hall of Fame athlete Sakuraba is penned to be at the helm of this new expansion. Sakuraba had previously worked with K-1's MMA event series called 'Hero's' which ran from 2005 to 2008.

During the early 2000's K-1 also worked with other MMA organizations in its 'Dynamite' series, with the premise of K-1 athletes facing off against fighters from DREAM, Sengoku, and PRIDE FC. The Dynamite events hosted iconic figures such as Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto, Genki Sudo, Masato, Badr Hari, Royce Gracie, Shinsuke Nakamura, Ernesto Hoost, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, among many others. Rumors state that K-1 is looking to resurrect the 'Dynamite' name with major annual events.

K-1 had a marquee year in 2022 with THE MATCH, which was a collaborative event that sold out the Tokyo Dome. It was also a blockbuster on Pay-Per-View. Looking to continue its success and expand globally, K-1 Global is looking to work on collaborative efforts with other combat sports organizations.